2005

JC and Good Night, and Good Luck

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1935  Wednesday, 23 November 2005

[1] 	From: 	Steve Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 15:26:56 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1922 JC and Good Night, and Good Luck

[2] 	From: 	Virginia Byrne <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 17:17:52 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1922  JC and Good Night, and Good Luck


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Steve Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 15:26:56 EST
Subject: 16.1922 JC and Good Night, and Good Luck
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1922 JC and Good Night, and Good Luck

Dear Friends,

Richard Burt misinterprets the import of "the fault ... in ourselves." 
The fault is not in "liberal-minded" Friendly and Murrow; they are not 
the "ourselves." Burt needs to consider why Murrow's show was canceled 
and who, therefore, was at fault.

And what does Burt mean by "conducted by whites" and "addressed to whites"?

Is Burt's submission as distasteful as I think it is?

Steve Sohmer

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Virginia Byrne <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 17:17:52 EST
Subject: 16.1922  JC and Good Night, and Good Luck
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1922  JC and Good Night, and Good Luck

I think I missed something along the line. From what wellspring of 
ignorance did the racist comments made regarding those who quote 
Shakespeare come - Is "Othello" also the fodder of high-minded white 
racists -- Please  dear Jove let me have misinterpreted these comments 
of Mr. Burt.


_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

New Play by Vaclav Havel

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1934  Wednesday, 23 November 2005

From: 		JD Markel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 12:59:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.1920 New Play by Vaclav Havel
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1920 New Play by Vaclav Havel

Speaking of things Czech, here is a link to an August 2005 article:

http://www.praguepost.com/P03/2005/Art/0825/calen3.php

"Singing a tragic song - Hamlet, recast as a rock star, aims for Broadway"
Story about a Hamlet musical, in Czech, which might be brought to the U.S.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Lecture by Shuger in Boston

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1932  Wednesday, 23 November 2005

From: 		Dennis Taylor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 19:30:37 -0500
Subject: 	Lecture by Shuger in Boston

Nov. 28, Monday: Lecture by Debora Shuger, Professor of English, UCLA, 
"The Ethics of Censorship: Religion and the Regulation of Language in 
Tudor-Stuart England" Introduced by Caroline Bicks

4:30 PM, Connolly House, Boston College

Professor Shuger is the author of Political Theologies in Shakespeare's 
England, also The Renaissance Bible, also Habits of Thought in the 
English Renaissance: Religion, Politics, and the Dominant Culture, and 
other books. She is a major critic of Tudor-Stuart literature and 
culture, and has had an important influence on leading graduate students 
into the field of early modern literature and religion. Her talk is from 
her forthcoming book, Censorship and Cultural Sensibility: The 
Regulation of Language in Tudor-Stuart England.

For information, Tel. Religion and the Arts, 617 552 3729 or 2303
Web page: www.bc.edu/relarts

Dennis Taylor
Professor of English
Editor
Religion and the Arts
25 Lawrence Ave.
Boston College
Chestnut Hill MA 02467
6175523729
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1933  Wednesday, 23 November 2005

From: 		William Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 14:29:32 -0500
Subject: 	Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

Now that the dust has apparently settled from earlier discussions about 
Dr. Elliott's near-wager with Dr. Egan, I wanted to follow up with a few 
questions that have been mulling about my brain these last few weeks 
about stylometry, and more specifically, about Dr. Elliott's specific 
body of research.  Dr. Elliott, if you're still out there, I would 
appreciate your thoughts.

As I've looked through the information available about the stylistic 
markers in Dr. Elliott's tests, I can't help but notice how some of 
these stylistic characteristics evolve from Shakespeare's early plays to 
the mid and late plays.  I assume this would be expected of a writer who 
is constantly undergoing shifts in style over the course of a career, so 
this doesn't present itself as a problem.  But in light of the Dr. 
Elliott's wager, and how the measuring stick for his test is a 
collection of data representing Shakespeare's "core" plays, plays that 
appear to be written mostly at the height of Shakespeare's career, I do 
have a few thoughts that come to mind.

To begin, I personally think that stylometry has a place in Shakespeare 
studies and that its value has been underestimated.  But at the same 
time I am very hesitant to endow it as a be-all, end-all solution to the 
attribution questions.  I think the scope of possibilities still extend 
well beyond the data that has been defined as a gold-standard measuring 
stick to identify Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean works, and I feel 
that we have a long way to go before we can make final pronouncements on 
the legitimacy or illegitimacy of a text of unknown authorship based on 
stylometry alone.  In my own simple way of thinking, here is one 
possible scenario to explain why:

Let's imagine for a moment that one of the local Stratford farmers is 
plowing through a field, and he stumbles across the cornerstone of an 
old building.  And as he moves the cornerstone, he finds a box full of 
materials which turns out to be a time capsule of sorts, assembled by 
the people who lived in Stratford during Shakespeare's lifetime.  In 
fact, this particular time capsule is dedicated to the students of 
Stratford, and inside the box are several manuscripts that contain 
samples of student work.  The scholars are notified and they scour the 
manuscripts, looking for evidence of Shakespeare, but they find nothing 
conclusive.  However, there is a play in the pile of papers that doesn't 
have a title page, and no one knows who the author is.  The style, of 
course, is immature and certainly not a masterpiece---but nevertheless, 
some of the scholars feel that it shows potential, and others even feel 
that it might be one of Shakespeare's earliest plays.  Now my question 
is simply this:  if this manuscript were actually a play written by 
Shakespeare as a young boy, could the current stylometric measuring 
stick be able to accurately identify this text as a Category One Gem?

In my mind, I am not certain that the current test could do this, and 
these are just a few of my reasons:  to begin, it's well known that 
Christopher Marlowe's writing had a significant influence on 
Shakespeare's style.  And it also appears that a few other writers in 
the London scene, to one extent or another, had an influence on 
Shakespeare, as well.  But what did Shakespeare's writing look like 
before he had absorbed those stylistic influences?  How many of the 
stylometric markers can be attributed to Shakespeare's post-London 
arrival, and how many of them predate his entrance into the professional 
scene?  We may never know.  But the trouble I have is the thought of 
taking a measuring stick that is based on the plays that Shakespeare 
wrote as a well-developed writer, and then applying that measuring stick 
to a play that might be something he wrote very early in his career (or 
even "pre-career"), and then making final pronouncements as to whether 
or not it might be legitimate.  (How many of us would readily believe 
that our own subconscious style of writing had altered very little from 
our ABC days?)  In other words, if we use Dr. Elliott's test, an early 
Shakespeare play could appear to be---according to Dr. Elliott's 
descriptions---a Category Two play, or even a Category Three or Four 
play (no pun intended), even though the manuscript might actually be a 
pure gold, Category-Immature-One play.  I don't think it's inappropriate 
to suggest that the London writers, along with the whole London scene, 
had a heavy influence on Shakespeare and his writing style.  And I think 
it's probably safe to assume that his writing patterns and his personal 
style experienced some significant and dramatic changes (ok, pun now 
intended)---particularly in the early transitional years of the London 
experience.  To complicate matters further, given his status as a new 
writer, I think it would be safe to assume that in the very beginning he 
would have had relatively few opportunities to actually write entire 
plays by himself, but in the course of paying his dues I believe he 
would have been involved in several collaborative works---all of which 
would have influenced his writing characteristics, both consciously and 
unconsciously.

So I guess some of my questions fall along these lines:  if I use Dr. 
Elliott's test to try and identify a Category One play of Shakespeare's, 
will it only work if it's a play that was written during the height of 
Shakespeare's career?  Or will it work if applied to anything 
Shakespeare wrote at any point in his lifetime?  If so, are we certain 
we can accomplish this, even if we don't have writing samples from his 
earliest years to build a core test for those time periods?  At what 
point do we start to be certain?  Are there cut off dates?  Will the 
test accurately identify Shakespeare's work in grammar school? 
Post-grammar school life in Stratford?  The Unknown Years?  His earliest 
years in London, before he had a chance to absorb the styles of Marlowe, 
Kyd, Peele, et al?  In other words, is it possible that in the process 
of refining the stylometric data that we have today, the information 
might only support a test that could identify Shakespeare's writing 
within a specific window of time, and potentially disqualify those works 
that were written in the fringes of Shakespeare's career and the suburbs 
of his style?  If not, how do we know, and how can we be sure?

Genuinely interested and non-combatively so,
William Davis

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Translated, Improved, and Concluded

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1931  Tuesday, 22 November 2005

[Editor's Note: Once again, we have reached an impasse.

The poster concludes, "It is one thing to impose extraneous views on 
Shakespeare's play and quite another to find out what the text is 
declaring. I have tried to do so and to show how such understanding 
leads to a greater understanding in the full play. I would think that 
serious people interested in Shakespeare's plays would want to know 
these things."

The assumption of such a position precludes any challenges to it. Either 
agree with me or you are not a serious person. There are no other options.

Further, the position stated here is based on the contention that 
underpins virtually every posting by David Basch to this list -- 
Shakespeare's having special hidden knowledge: "Hence the very question, 
"Is sheep (KSV) silver (KSF)?", is Shakespeare's buried jest left for 
readers of the traditional Hebrew Bible, which apparently Shakespeare 
has a command of."

This thread is over, and I think that it is rapidly approaching the time 
when the serious people interested in Shakespeare's play who want to 
know these things should go and form their own listserv.

Hardy M. Cook
Owner-Editor-Moderator of SHAKSPER]

From: 		David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 09:55:48 -0500
Subject: 16.1919 "Translated and Improved"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1919 "Translated and Improved"

Florence Amit has an interesting spin on what The Merchant of Venice is 
about. I had heard bits and pieces of such an interpretation. I would 
one day like to read a coherent account of it showing how it is grounded 
in the text of Shakespeare's play and how it fits into all the action. 
Florence Amit gives a bit more detail of it but not complete enough for 
my understanding. I have yet to get that coherent account.

It is no mystery that I have my own view of the play. I try to ground it 
upon the text of Shakespeare's play and not what I think the play should 
be about, which would be irrelevant. I did not originally find Antonio 
to be a Jewish convert. Neil Hirschson argued that point in an article 
in Midstream magazine in the mid 1980's. He gleaned it from Shylock's 
use of the word "our" in dealing with Antonio and similar signs. I 
checked this out and found it valid and even added to it.

It makes understandable Shylock's remark about hating Antonio "for he is 
a Christian." It turns out that this hate comes from the fact that 
Antonio abandoned the Jewish religion and not that he was Christian per se.

That Shylock repeatedly uses the term "our" in speaking with Antonio 
seems telltale. Shylock says, "OUR holy Abram," "sufferance is the badge 
of all OUR tribe," etc. Similarly, when Shylock speaks with the Jew, 
Tubal, he says, "The curse never fell upon OUR nation till now." On the 
other hand, when Shylock speaks with Salarino he says that Antonio 
"scorned MY nation." No "our" here. These are not things I am inventing. 
Other statements and actions are likewise confirming, like giving 
Antonio a free loan which is what the Talmud rules even for a converted Jew.

Neither do I invent in Shakespeare's play that Portia remarks on how 
alike to Antonio is her husband, Bassanio, and ultimately to herself 
since she regards Bassanio as alike unto her. That is why she says she 
feels that it is too much like praising herself when she praises 
Antonio. Through this dialogue, Shakespeare informs his audience that 
the three are alike. Why do we need to know this?

The answer is so that we can readily learn that all three are covenant 
breakers, though the poet does convey the same thing redundantly through 
other ways. We know for certain that Bassanio broke his covenant with 
Portia when he gave away her ring, the ring he vowed to keep forever. 
What covenant did Portia break? She broke her covenant with her father, 
her father's covenant on abiding by the outcome of the selection of the 
right casket as defining a fitting suitor for her hand. We have seen 
numerous other signs of her covenant breaking. So, now, what covenant 
did Antonio break? It is his Jewish covenant by becoming a Christian. 
This fact, as we have seen, is corroborated in the text in other ways 
too. This is the play telling this and not just David Basch.

Florence Amit rejects the idea that Antonio was a convert from Judaism 
since she can't believe that such a Jew would demand that Shylock also 
convert. But, clearly, Antonio is drawn as an anti-Semite, kicking and 
spitting on Jews. This behavior is hardly something impossible since it 
does happen occasionally, much too often for comfort.

Not only is Antonio a convert, he is also a vicious Jew hater. And he 
decides to take over and control all Shylock's wealth. In so doing, he 
forgets to be merciful, the very characteristic that is supposed to be a 
defining characteristic of his new religion. Shakespeare demonstrates 
how hate controls and makes hypocrites of those who hate.

As to Antonio and Shylock's banter about Jacob, I read it as Shylock 
wanting to get Antonio "on the hip," besting him in a verbal duel by 
showing him how the Bible's Jacob made money from money in the breeding 
of his sheep, nothing more than what Shylock was doing with his money.

Florence Amit mentions Antonio's rejection of the similarity between the 
two ways of creating wealth in his line, "Or is your gold and silver 
ewes and rams?" This line indicates that Antonio rejects Shylock's point 
that there is in essence nothing wrong with making money from money in 
any of its forms. The line is spoken in front of Bassanio, which is why 
Antonio needs to defend his position and say how falsehood often looks 
so good, like "A goodly apple rotten at the heart."

As an aside, Antonio's line does contain a hidden jest meant for Hebrew 
Bible readers. Since "ewes and rams" are sheep, Antonio, among other 
things, is asking whether "sheep is silver." This question is apt for 
some word usage that occurs in Leviticus. The Hebrew word for sheep is 
KVS (KeVeS). But occasionally in Leviticus it is spelled with its 
letters inverted as KSV (KeSeV). What is funny about this is that KSV in 
Hebrew sounds like KSF (KeSeF), the word for silver. Hence the very 
question, "Is sheep (KSV) silver (KSF)?", is Shakespeare's buried jest 
left for readers of the traditional Hebrew Bible, which apparently 
Shakespeare has a command of.

Florence Amit also argues that the "merry jest" that Shylock made with 
Antonio of the default penalty of taking "a pound from his fair flesh" 
is not meant as a jest at all. But here Shylock is asserting a Talmudic 
penalty imposed on the owner of an ox that gored, an ox like Antonio 
that had in a sense gored him, Shylock. The Talmud rules that the 
penalty is to be taken from "from his flesh," which means in the Talmud 
the sale of ox and thereby taking the money from the ox's flesh. It was 
a jestful reminder of Antonio's cruelty that Antonio, a former Jew, 
would have understood.  Apparently Antonio does understand since he is 
not threatened and immediately regards the deal as suggesting that 
Shylock has become decent.

It is one thing to impose extraneous views on Shakespeare's play and 
quite another to find out what the text is declaring. I have tried to do 
so and to show how such understanding leads to a greater understanding 
in the full play. I would think that serious people interested in 
Shakespeare's plays would want to know these things.

David Basch

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.